Emergency Disaster Services
Combatting Natural Disasters
Since its charter was enacted in the United States in 1899, The Salvation Army has provided emergency services to individuals and communities affected by disasters and other catastrophic events. The Salvation Army disaster teams offer food, clothing, shelter and other basic necessities for survival. Emotional and spiritual care is available for those coping with grief, loss, and other trauma associated with a disaster event. The Salvation Army is well equipped to minister to survivors of disaster, assuring them that God has not forgotten them in their time of need.
Even after a disaster becomes “old news,” The Salvation Army remains on the scene, cleaning, rebuilding, and helping to restore lives to normal.
All Salvation Army disaster services are free and all people are served equally, without discrimination. The Salvation Army disaster relief services are funded entirely through the generosity of donors.
Get up-to-date news from the national Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services website, and find out how The Salvation Army EDS teams are involved in providing assistance across the country in times of disaster.
The Salvation Army is grateful to its donors for allowing us to Do The Most Good in times of disaster. Without your support, we would not be able to do what we do. For more information on the types of donations that help the most, please read more here.
Guidelines for Donating After Disaster
Financial contributions are the best way to assist The Salvation Army with helping those affected by disasters. Monetary donations allow the Salvation Army to purchase product to meet the most urgent needs. When feasible, purchases are made near the disaster site to help stimulate the local economy and ensure quicker delivery to those in need.
- A $10 donation feeds a disaster survivor for one day.
- A $30 donation provides one food box, containing staple foods for a family of four, or one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and other cleaning supplies.
- A $100 donation can serve snacks and drinks for 125 survivors and emergency personnel at the scene of a disaster.
- A $250 donation can provide one hot meal to 100 people or keep a hydration station operational for 24 hours.
- A $500 donation keeps a Salvation Army canteen (mobile feeding unit) fully operational for one day.
All money donated to The Salvation Army designated for a specific disaster goes to support the service work surrounding that particular disaster. Disaster fund-raising effects only disaster-specific work; not the overall social service work that the Army provides to nearly 30 million people each year.
If you wish to designate your gift to a specific disaster, you may do so at the time of your donation. Monetary donations can be made by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769) or online at disaster.salvationarmyusa.org/give. You may also send your contribution to your local Salvation Army office.
When needed, The Salvation Army will request and accept both corporate and private in-kind donations in support of the disaster relief operation. Specific items needed are identified based on the type of disaster. Bulk donations of a single product such as bottled water, personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, and building materials may be accepted. All donations must be properly packaged, shrink-wrapped, on pallets, and labeled. Donors are asked to cover the cost of shipping in-kind donations to the receiving location. If you have a donation of bulk product you would like to contribute please contact your local Salvation Army office.
Confirm Need Before Collection
In-Kind donations require time, space, money and personnel. These are all valuable resources at a disaster site. All in-kind donations must be pre-planned and accepted by The Salvation Army prior to delivery. Donors are asked to be responsible for the shipping to the receiving location.
Transportation Should Be Planned in Advance
Transportation during a major disaster is often a challenge. Never assume unsolicited relief supplies can be accepted at the disaster site. Planning for delivery will allow the Salvation Army to have appropriate staff and volunteers in place to accept donations.
Used Clothing Is Rarely a Useful Item to Collect for Disaster Relief
Used clothing is rarely needed at the disaster site. You may contact your local Salvation Army office to donate used items. This helps support local Salvation Army programs.
Disaster Relief Services
While each disaster creates its own unique circumstances and special needs, The Salvation Army disaster relief efforts focus on seven core services. These services may be modified based on the magnitude of the disaster and adapted to meet the specific needs of individual survivors.
The first step in being ready to respond to an emergency is training. In partnership with other agencies, The Salvation Army’s disaster training program offers a variety of courses designed to help individuals and communities prepare for emergency events and become trained disaster volunteers.
When disaster strikes, one of the first signs that help is on the way is often the arrival of a Salvation Army mobile feeding unit, offering meals, snacks and drinks to rescue workers and survivors. Georgia has 21 mobile feeding units located across the state.
Emotional and Spiritual Care
Motivated by Christian faith, The Salvation Army deploys specially trained individuals to offer emotional and spiritual care to rescue workers and disaster survivors.
The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) includes a worldwide network of volunteer amateur radio operators and other communications specialists, who may be mobilized to transmit emergency information during a disaster event. During a major disaster, time is of the essence in letting families know their loved ones are safe. We locate survivors and provide information to their family and friends through SATERN.
Disaster Social Services
After a family has lost everything in a disaster, The Salvation Army is there to provide emergency assistance to help meet survivors’ most urgent needs for food, clothing, shelter and medical services.
Each disaster is unique. We determine what the biggest needs are and seek out individuals and organizations that can provide these items to survivors. This includes food, water, toiletry items, clothes, cleaning supplies, blankets, and much more. However, monetary donations are often the most effective and quickest way to support the emergency relief work.
The Salvation Army supports long-term disaster recovery operations with flexible programming that is adaptable to the unique needs of individual communities, including short-term grants for medicine, groceries, and other pressing needs. When the road back to normal is a bit longer, The Salvation Army partners with other agencies to give long-term financial help.